On book ratings

A while back someone — maybe sarazarr? — blogged about the issues that go with being too eager to assign star ratings to books — and everything else, for that matter.

Over on goodreads, I’ve been finding the business of trying to figure out how to rate all the different books I read — and love and hate in so many different ways — more and more problematic. Because several books might all objectively both wind up being, say, four-star books, yet I really might feel very differently from them — one could be a piece of perfect two-hour escapism, another could be a flawed-but-ambitious epic that I’m still working through my feelings about, a third a book that objectively doesn’t work at all now but that changed my life when I was thirteen … after a while, ratings begin not making much sense, at least as a reader who isn’t also a professional reviewer.

Sometimes I’ll put off rating a book because I’m not sure how I feel about it yet, but the past couple books on goodreads, I tried consciously skipping ratings entirely instead, and commenting on the book instead.

And what I found was, by not wasting any energy on trying to rate books, I was able to say interesting (to me anyway) things about them instead. Which is really much more satisfying, more likely to start interesting conversations, and possibly even more useful to anyone who happens to skim my list of books.

It has me tempted to just delete all my past ratings, stop rating books on general principles, and just stick to talking about them instead.

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